Refresh Your Outlook
Take a Mindful Minute: Meditation helps take the edge off stress and can even help you make better decisions. Don't think you're the sit-still-and-breathe type? Try the free app Calm (calm.com), which gives you guided meditation sessions that last anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes.
Go Green: Add some green to the scene. A potted plant can help you be more productive, feel less stressed, and literally breathe easier. "Plants dramatically improve indoor air quality," says Bill Wolverton, Ph.D., author of How to Grow Fresh Air. He recommends lady palm, rubber plant, golden pothos, peace lily, and syngonium. The houseplant-as-air-purification is directly related to leaf surface area, so more is more and bigger is better. Get the largest one your space will allow and set it wherever you spend the most time.
Open the Windows: Weather permitting, leave one or two open for a bit to reduce indoor air pollutants and refresh your home's air supply.
Create a No-Tech Zone: Never unplugging can leave you frazzled and fatigued, but there's an easy way to take a tech break: Wear a watch. Many people check the time on their phones but then get caught up in Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Get Some Game: Instead of stashing family games away, store them in sight -- hopefully somewhere between you and the TV remote, says Bay Area designer Tamara Mack. Stack board games and fun-starters like dominoes or cards below the coffee table. Add floor cushions to make contests more comfy.
Let There Be Light: Brighter spaces = a happier you. Three of four corners in a room should be illuminated with table or floor lamps, says New York-based designer Elaine Griffin. Tweak the wattage in each lamp so it delivers the right amount of light; the darker the zone, the more wattage you need.
Color Play: How to pick your happy color: Re-create the palette of a place that holds fond memories -- whether it's your childhood bedroom, a country cottage, or a vacation destination.
The key to changes that stick: Pick a plan that works for you. Getting more veggies, keeping portions in check, and tracking what you eat are secrets to success.
Become a Smooth(ie) Operator: Done right, a smoothie can give you a big dose of healthy in a glass. The secret: "Focus on increasing the veggies," says Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. "Use nonstarchy veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, or lettuce, then you can add a little fruit for sweetness, and some protein like lowfat Greek yogurt to keep you satisfied."
Rainbow Connection: "Aim to have five different colors of produce every day," Kirkpatrick says. "One day it might be an apple, a banana, some Swiss chard, blueberries, and a sweet potato. You'll fill up on good-for- you produce, leaving less room for junk food."
Simplify Your Routine
Streamline Mornings: Make every day like the first day of school and pick out what you're going to wear the night before. Hang a special hook to hold your outfit, styliststyle, or take a few minutes to map it out mentally.
Give Your Purse a Makeover: How to never again frantically search for your keys, phone, or wallet? Have a system and stick to it, says Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out. Use bags within your bag -- pick up a few small see-through pourches and assign each one a category: makeup, snacks/gum, pens/pencils, etc. Put keys and phone inside their own inside pockets, and dedicate an interior pocket for glasses or shades.
Redefine Exercise: Think outside the gym session and find ways to take your daily activity levels up a notch. "It used to be that people were active only when they had a goal in mind, like looking for food or building a home," says James Fell, author of Lose It Right. So get out there and build a snowman with the kids, sign up for a charity car wash, or simply walk more briskly as you do errands. It all counts toward your goal of 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Keep Fitness Front-of-Mind: Stash a rolled-up yoga mat and resistance bands near your couch where they're visible -- a reminder that you can do stretching or strength-training moves anytime.